n. — Ethnicities
any of the many languages spoken by or deriving from First Nations communities.
Type: 4. Culturally Significant — The term First Nations language in Canada refers to any of the languages spoken by the First Nations peoples. As aboriginal language (see entry) is an umbrella term, First Nations language specifically designates the languages generally not spoken by Inuit or Métis peoples. The most common aboriginal language in Canada, Cree, is a First Nations language and is part of the Algonquian language family, the largest in the country (see Indigenous Foundations reference).
Of great concern nowadays is the rapid decline in the use of First Nations languages in homes across Canada (see Indigenous Foundations reference). This is largely a result of the residential school system that sought to erase any trace of aboriginal culture in the country from the late 1800s onward (see the 1990 quotation).
The term is used the second most frequently in Canada, after Australia, where it is used to refer to indigenous languages spoken in that country, with all other listed locations far behind (see Chart 1).
See also: residential school First Nation Aboriginal language
- 1990  "The residential school system . . . left primarily under the management of the religious denominations who were instrumental in implementing the 'English only' policy, was the single most powerful force in achieving near extinction of First Nations languages in British Columbia," Gardner said.
- 1996  After considering Charlie's story and listening to Shirley, I wondered if perhaps, approaching this paper through the concept of justice was in itself an error. I take seriously that there is no word in many First Nation languages to express this concept, justice.
- 1999  The fact that the songs are in English shouldn't be taken as any kind of brush-off, either. Although This Child had lyrics in Inuk and other First Nations languages, keep in mind that nine years of Aglukark's life have been spent living in Ontario.
- 2004  Language teachers at each of the four schools will also prepare the students to sing two traditional melodies in the two First Nations languages of the area - Gitksan and Wet'suwet'en.
- 2005  I was born to a woman who speaks Cree. Today I am happy to speak my First Nation language. I was born to a woman who is proud of her identity. Today I wear my hair in braids. I was born to a woman who is a hard and dedicated worker.
- 2015  He recommended a new co-operative framework between Ontario and Ottawa to compile band residency information, simplifying the wording on questionnaires sent to prospective jurors in the north, translating it into First Nations languages where applicable, removing language threatening fines for noncompliance and giving them more time to return the jury questionnaire.
Chart 1: Internet Domain Search, 15 Jan. 2016